Edwidge Danticat is the author of numerous books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist; The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner; and The Dew Breaker, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and winner of the first Story Prize. She lives in Miami with her husband and 2 daughters.
Born in Haiti, Danticat says she draws on the stories she heard as a little girl. "We take great pride in our past,'' says Danticat. Her first languages were Creole and French. When she was a toddler, her parents left Haiti to find a better life in the U.S. She stayed with an aunt and uncle until she rejoined them at 12.
While her stories are set in contemporary Haiti, Danticat brings in historical characters like the 1790s slave leader Boukman and events like the killings in 1937 at Massacre River (when soldiers in the Dominican Republic slaughtered Haitians).
Although she is a U.S. citizen, Danticat remains connected to Haiti, which she has visited frequently. "Krik? Krak!" is being translated into Creole for Haitian radio. Danticat also served as the associate producer of a documentary made by Jonathan Demme about Haitian torture survivors, "Courage and Pain", as well as the documentary about Jean Dominique and Radio Haiti called "The Agronomist".
She resents the idea that Haiti is not ready for democracy. "There is no place in the world where people fight more for democracy.''
Edwidge was in town as the author of this year's "Brazos Valley Reads" book selection "The Farming of Bones". She generously agreed to spend time with KEOS Community Radio and share her thoughts.